en-fr  The Island of Doctor Moreau/Chapter 18 Medium
L'île du docteur Moreau d'H. G. Wells.

Chapitre 18.


LA DÉCOUVERTE DE MOREAU.


Quand je vis Montgomery avaler une troisième dose d’eau-de-vie, je décidai d’intervenir. Il était déjà plus qu'à moitié éméché. Je lui dis que quelque chose de grave avait déjà dû arriver à Moreau, sinon il serait rentré avant cela et qu'il nous incombait de déterminer quelle était cette catastrophe. Montgomery souleva quelques faibles objections et finit par accepter. Nous avions de la nourriture, donc tous trois nous nous mîmes en route.

C’est peut-être à cause de la tension de mon esprit à l’époque, mais même aujourd’hui, ce départ dans la tranquillité chaude de l'après-midi tropical me fait une impression singulièrement vive. M’ling passa devant, l’épaule voutée, son étrange tête noire se déplaçant rapidement, tandis qu'il observait tantôt ce côté du chemin, tantôt cet autre. Il n'était pas armé ; il avait laissé tomber sa hachette quand il avait rencontré l'Homme-Porc. Les dents étaient ses armes lorsqu'il se battait. Montgomery suivait d'un pas chancelant, les mains dans les poches, la tête baissée ; il était dans un état de morosité confuse à cause du brandy. Mon bras gauche était dans une écharpe (heureusement que c'était le gauche) et je portais mon revolver dans la main droite. Bientôt, nous tracâmes un chemin étroit en direction du nord-ouest à travers la luxuriance sauvage de l'île, et tout à coup, M'ling s'arrêta, puis se fige avec vigilance. Montgomery trébucha presque contre lui, puis s'arrêta aussi. Puis, écoutant attentivement, nous entendîmes venir à travers les arbres des éclats de voix et des bruits de pas s'approchant de nous.

— Il est mort, dit une voix profonde et vibrante.

— Il n'est pas mort; il n'est pas mort, bredouilla une autre.

— Nous avons vu, nous avons vu, dirent plusieurs voix.

— Hé ! cria soudain Montgomery. Ohé ! par ici ! — Mince ! dis-je en saisissant mon pistolet.

Il y eut un silence, puis un fracas parmi l'enchevêtrement de végétation, d'abord ici, puis là, et ensuite une demi-douzaine de visages apparurent... d'étranges visages, curieusement illuminés. M’ling fit un grognement guttural. Je reconnus l’Homme-Singe : j’avais déjà identifié sa voix et deux des créatures à la robe brune et blanche que j’avais vues dans le bateau de Montgomery. Avec ces étaient les deux brutes tachetées et cette créature grise, horriblement tordue qui disait la Loi, avec poils gris qui tombaient sur ses joues, de lourds sourcils gris et des mèches grises qui se détachaient d'une partie centrale sur son front fuyant, un être grossier et sans visage, avec d'étranges yeux rouges, nous regardant curieusement au milieu de la verdure.

Pendant un instant tout le monde se tut. Puis Montgomery hoqueta : — Qui ... a dit qu'il était mort ? L'Homme-Singe regarda la Chose grise et velue d'un air coupable. — Il est mort, dit ce monstre. Ils ont vu. Ce détachement n'avait rien de menaçant, en tout cas. Ils semblaient stupéfaits et perplexes.

— Où est-il ? dit Montgomery.

— Au-delà et la créature grise pointa.

— Y a-t-il une Loi maintenant ? demanda l'Homme-Singe. Est-ce qu'il faut toujours être ceci et cela ? Est-il vraiment mort ? — Y a-t-il une Loi ? répéta l'homme en blanc. Y a-t-il une Loi, toi l'Autre avec le fouet ? — Il est mort, dit la Créature grise et velue.

Et ils restaient tous à nous regarder.

— Prendick, dit Montgomery tournant vers moi son regard éteint. — Il est mort, à l'évidence. Je m'étais tenu derrière lui durant cet échange. Je commencai à entrevoir comment ils fonctionnaient. Je fis tout à coup un pas devant Montgomery et élevai la voix : — Enfants de la Loi, dis-je, il n’est pas mort ! M’ling tourna vers moi ses yeux vifs. Il changé de forme ; il a changé de corps, poursuivis-je. Pendant un moment, vous ne le verrez pas. Il est... là-haut, je pointai mon doigt vers le ciel, d'où il peut vous observer. Vous ne pouvez pas le voir, mais lui il peut. Craignez la Loi ! Je les regardai directement. Ils reculèrent.

— Il est grand, il est bon, dit l'Homme-Singe, levant les yeux d'un air craintif vers le haut parmi les arbres denses.

— Et l'autre Chose ? demandai-je.

— La Chose qui saignait et courait en hurlant et en sanglotant — Elle est morte aussi, dit la Créature grise, qui me fixait toujours.

— Tant mieux, grommela Montgomery.

— L'autre avec le fouet... commença la Créature grise.

— Eh bien ? dis-je.

— On a dit qu'il était mort. Mais Montgomery avait encore les idées assez claires pour comprendre dans quel but j'avais nié la mort de Moreau. — il n'est pas mort, dit-il lentement, pas du tout mort. Pas plus mort que moi. — Certains, dis-je, ont violé la Loi : ils mourront. Certains sont morts. Montrez-nous maintenant où git son ancien corps, — le corps qu'il a abandonné car il n'en avait plus besoin. — C'est par ici, Homme qui a marché dans la mer, dit la Chose grise.

Et avec ces six créatures qui nous guidaient, nous nous enfonçâmes dans le désordre des fougères, des lianes et des troncs d'arbres en direction du nord-ouest.. Survint alors un hurlement, un fracas dans les branches, et un petit homunculus rose surgit vers nous en criant. Immédiatement derrière lui apparut un monstre sauvage courant à sa poursuite tête baissée, ruisselant de sang, qui fut sur nous avant d'avoir pu stopper sa course. La Chose grise fit un bond de côté. M'ling, se jeta sur lui en grognant et fut rejeté de côté. Montgomery fit feu et le manqua, baissa la tête, leva le bras et se mit à courir. Je fis feu, et la Chose avança encore; je tirai à nouveau, à bout portant sur son horrible face. Je vis ses traits disparaitre en un éclair : son visage était emporté. Il me dépassa alors, attrapa Montgomery, et tout en le tenant, tomba tête première à côté de lui, l'entraina et s'affala sur lui-même dans son agonie.

Je me retrouvai seul avec M'ling, la brute morte, et l'homme prostré. Montgomery se releva lentement, fixant avec hébétude l'Homme-bête abattu à côté de lui. Cela finit de le dégriser. Il se remit sur pieds. Je vis alors la Chose grise revenir prudemment à travers les arbres.

— Regarde, dis-je en montrant la brute morte, est-ce que la Loi n'existe plus ? Voilà ce qui arrive quand on enfreint la Loi. Il jeta un coup d'œil au corps. — Il envoie le Feu qui tue, dit-il d'une voix grave en répétant une partie du rituel. Les autres se rassemblèrent et observèrent pendant quelque temps.

Enfin, nous approchâmes de l'extrémité ouest de l'île. Nous tombâmes sur le corps rongé et mutilé du puma, son os de l'épaule brisé par une balle et peut-être à une vingtaine de mètres plus loin nous trouvâmes finalement ce que nous étions venus chercher. Moreau gisait face contre terre dans un endroit où les joncs avaient été piétinés. Une main était presque sectionnée au poignet, et sa chevelure grise baignait dans le sang. Sa tête avait été défoncée par les chaines du puma. Sous lui les cannes brisées étaient maculées de sang. Nous n'avons pas pu retrouver son révolver. Montgomery le retourna.

Nous reposant régulièrement, et avec l'aide de sept Hommes-Bêtes (car il était lourd), nous ramenâmes Moreau dans l'enceinte. La nuit tomba. Deux fois, nous entendîmes des créatures invisibles hurler et crier en passant devant notre petit groupe et, une fois, la petite créature-paresseux rose apparut, nous regarda, puis disparut à nouveau. Mais nous ne fûmes plus attaqués. Aux portes de l’enceinte notre troupe d'Hommes-Bêtes nous quitta, M’ling allant avec les autres. Nous nous enfermâmes, puis transportâmes le corps mutilé de Moreau dans la cour et le déposâmes sur un tas de broussailles. Ensuite, nous allâmes dans le laboratoire et achevâmes tous les êtres vivants que nous trouvâmes là-bas.
unit 1
The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.
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Chapter 18.
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THE FINDING OF MOREAU.
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WHEN I saw Montgomery swallow a third dose of brandy, I took it upon myself to interfere.
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He was already more than half fuddled.
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Montgomery raised some feeble objections, and at last agreed.
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We had some food, and then all three of us started.
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He was unarmed; his axe he had dropped when he encountered the Swine-man.
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Teeth were his weapons, when it came to fighting.
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My left arm was in a sling (it was lucky it was my left), and I carried my revolver in my right.
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Montgomery almost staggered into him, and then stopped too.
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“He is dead,” said a deep, vibrating voice.
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“He is not dead; he is not dead,” jabbered another.
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“We saw, we saw,” said several voices.
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“Hul-lo!” suddenly shouted Montgomery.
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“Hul-lo, there!” “Confound you!” said I, and gripped my pistol.
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M’ling made a growling noise in his throat.
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For a space no one spoke.
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“He is dead,” said this monster.
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“They saw.” There was nothing threatening about this detachment, at any rate.
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They seemed awe-stricken and puzzled.
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“Where is he?” said Montgomery.
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“Beyond,” and the grey creature pointed.
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“Is there a Law now?” asked the Monkey-man.
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“Is it still to be this and that?
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Is he dead indeed?” “Is there a Law?” repeated the man in white.
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“Is there a Law, thou Other with the Whip?” “He is dead,” said the hairy-grey Thing.
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And they all stood watching us.
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“Prendick,” said Montgomery, turning his dull eyes to me.
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“He’s dead, evidently.” I had been standing behind him during this colloquy.
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I began to see how things lay with them.
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“He has changed his shape; he has changed his body,” I went on.
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“For a time you will not see him.
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He is—there,” I pointed upward, “where he can watch you.
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You cannot see him, but he can see you.
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Fear the Law!” I looked at them squarely.
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They flinched.
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“He is great, he is good,” said the Ape-man, peering fearfully upward among the dense trees.
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“And the other Thing?” I demanded.
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“That‘s well,” grunted Montgomery.
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“The Other with the Whip—” began the grey Thing.
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“Well?” said I.
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“He is not dead,” he said slowly, “not dead at all.
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No more dead than I am.” “Some,” said I, “have broken the Law: they will die.
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Some have died.
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The grey Thing leapt aside.
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M’ling, with a snarl, flew at it, and was struck aside.
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Montgomery fired and missed, bowed his head, threw up his arm, and turned to run.
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I fired, and the Thing still came on; fired again, point-blank, into its ugly face.
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I saw its features vanish in a flash: its face was driven in.
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I found myself alone with M’ling, the dead brute, and the prostrate man.
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It more than half sobered him.
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He scrambled to his feet.
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Then I saw the grey Thing returning cautiously through the trees.
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“See,” said I, pointing to the dead brute, “is the Law not alive?
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This came of breaking the Law.” He peered at the body.
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“He sends the Fire that kills,” said he, in his deep voice, repeating part of the Ritual.
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The others gathered round and stared for a space.
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At last we drew near the westward extremity of the island.
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Moreau lay face downward in a trampled space in a canebrake.
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One hand was almost severed at the wrist, and his silvery hair was dabbled in blood.
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His head had been battered in by the fetters of the puma.
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The broken canes beneath him were smeared with blood.
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His revolver we could not find.
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Montgomery turned him over.
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The night was darkling.
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But we were not attacked again.
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At the gates of the enclosure our company of Beast People left us, M’ling going with the rest.
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Then we went into the laboratory and put an end to all we found living there.
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francevw • 14145  commented on  unit 61  1 month, 1 week ago
Gabrielle • 13975  commented on  unit 77  1 month, 1 week ago

The Island of Doctor Moreau by H. G. Wells.

Chapter 18.

THE FINDING OF MOREAU.

WHEN I saw Montgomery swallow a third dose of brandy, I took it upon myself to interfere. He was already more than half fuddled. I told him that some serious thing must have happened to Moreau by this time, or he would have returned before this, and that it behoved us to ascertain what that catastrophe was. Montgomery raised some feeble objections, and at last agreed. We had some food, and then all three of us started.

It is possibly due to the tension of my mind at the time, but even now that start into the hot stillness of the tropical afternoon is a singularly vivid impression. M’ling went first, his shoulder hunched, his strange black head moving with quick starts as he peered first on this side of the way and then on that. He was unarmed; his axe he had dropped when he encountered the Swine-man. Teeth were his weapons, when it came to fighting. Montgomery followed with stumbling footsteps, his hands in his pockets, his face downcast; he was in a state of muddled sullenness with me on account of the brandy. My left arm was in a sling (it was lucky it was my left), and I carried my revolver in my right. Soon we traced a narrow path through the wild luxuriance of the island, going northwestward; and presently M‘’ing stopped, and became rigid with watchfulness. Montgomery almost staggered into him, and then stopped too. Then, listening intently, we heard coming through the trees the sound of voices and footsteps approaching us.

“He is dead,” said a deep, vibrating voice.

“He is not dead; he is not dead,” jabbered another.

“We saw, we saw,” said several voices.

“Hul-lo!” suddenly shouted Montgomery. “Hul-lo, there!”

“Confound you!” said I, and gripped my pistol.

There was a silence, then a crashing among the interlacing vegetation, first here, then there, and then half-a-dozen faces appeared,—strange faces, lit by a strange light. M’ling made a growling noise in his throat. I recognised the Ape-man: I had indeed already identified his voice, and two of the white-swathed brown-featured creatures I had seen in Montgomery’s boat. With these were the two dappled brutes and that grey, horribly crooked creature who said the Law, with grey hair streaming down its cheeks, heavy grey eyebrows, and grey locks pouring off from a central parting upon its sloping forehead,—a heavy, faceless thing, with strange red eyes, looking at us curiously from amidst the green.

For a space no one spoke. Then Montgomery hiccoughed, “Who—said he was dead?”

The Monkey-man looked guiltily at the hairy-grey Thing. “He is dead,” said this monster. “They saw.”

There was nothing threatening about this detachment, at any rate. They seemed awe-stricken and puzzled.

“Where is he?” said Montgomery.

“Beyond,” and the grey creature pointed.

“Is there a Law now?” asked the Monkey-man. “Is it still to be this and that? Is he dead indeed?”

“Is there a Law?” repeated the man in white. “Is there a Law, thou Other with the Whip?”

“He is dead,” said the hairy-grey Thing.

And they all stood watching us.

“Prendick,” said Montgomery, turning his dull eyes to me. “He’s dead, evidently.”

I had been standing behind him during this colloquy. I began to see how things lay with them. I suddenly stepped in front of Montgomery and lifted up my voice:—

“Children of the Law,” I said, “he is not dead!” M’ling turned his sharp eyes on me. “He has changed his shape; he has changed his body,” I went on. “For a time you will not see him. He is—there,” I pointed upward, “where he can watch you. You cannot see him, but he can see you. Fear the Law!”

I looked at them squarely. They flinched.

“He is great, he is good,” said the Ape-man, peering fearfully upward among the dense trees.

“And the other Thing?” I demanded.

“The Thing that bled, and ran screaming and sobbing,—that is dead too,” said the grey Thing, still regarding me.

“That‘s well,” grunted Montgomery.

“The Other with the Whip—” began the grey Thing.

“Well?” said I.

“Said he was dead.”

But Montgomery was still sober enough to understand my motive in denying Moreau‘s death. “He is not dead,” he said slowly, “not dead at all. No more dead than I am.”

“Some,” said I, “have broken the Law: they will die. Some have died. Show us now where his old body lies,—the body he cast away because he had no more need of it.”

“It is this way, Man who walked in the Sea,” said the grey Thing.

And with these six creatures guiding us, we went through the tumult of ferns and creepers and tree-stems towards the northwest. Then came a yelling, a crashing among the branches, and a little pink homunculus rushed by us shrieking. Immediately after appeared a feral monster in headlong pursuit, blood-bedabbled, who was amongst us almost before he could stop his career. The grey Thing leapt aside. M’ling, with a snarl, flew at it, and was struck aside. Montgomery fired and missed, bowed his head, threw up his arm, and turned to run. I fired, and the Thing still came on; fired again, point-blank, into its ugly face. I saw its features vanish in a flash: its face was driven in. Yet it passed me, gripped Montgomery, and holding him, fell headlong beside him and pulled him sprawling upon itself in its death-agony.

I found myself alone with M’ling, the dead brute, and the prostrate man. Montgomery raised himself slowly and stared in a muddled way at the shattered Beast Man beside him. It more than half sobered him. He scrambled to his feet. Then I saw the grey Thing returning cautiously through the trees.

“See,” said I, pointing to the dead brute, “is the Law not alive? This came of breaking the Law.”

He peered at the body. “He sends the Fire that kills,” said he, in his deep voice, repeating part of the Ritual. The others gathered round and stared for a space.

At last we drew near the westward extremity of the island. We came upon the gnawed and mutilated body of the puma, its shoulder-bone smashed by a bullet, and perhaps twenty yards farther found at last what we sought. Moreau lay face downward in a trampled space in a canebrake. One hand was almost severed at the wrist, and his silvery hair was dabbled in blood. His head had been battered in by the fetters of the puma. The broken canes beneath him were smeared with blood. His revolver we could not find. Montgomery turned him over.

Resting at intervals, and with the help of the seven Beast People (for he was a heavy man), we carried Moreau back to the enclosure. The night was darkling. Twice we heard unseen creatures howling and shrieking past our little band, and once the little pink sloth-creature appeared and stared at us, and vanished again. But we were not attacked again. At the gates of the enclosure our company of Beast People left us, M’ling going with the rest. We locked ourselves in, and then took Moreau’mangled body into the yard and laid it upon a pile of brushwood. Then we went into the laboratory and put an end to all we found living there.